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The 26 best things to do in Toronto

Great museums, brewery tours, delicious food and no shortage of hockey dominate the very best things to do in Toronto

Edited by
Ella Doyle
Written by
Paul French
Jessica Davey-Quantick
Sinead Mulhern

As Canada’s biggest city, it’s no surprise there’s a hell of a lot going on in Toronto. You might be there in the fall for Toronto International Film Festival, or in summer for Carnival or Pride, but whatever you’re here for, there’s enough to fill a trip with a full itinerary – and there’s a number of things you absolutely cannot miss. 

Toronto is home to, obviously, a great hockey team (hello Maple Leafs!), which pulls in hundreds of thousands of visitors during game season. But it’s also got a whole load of awesome culture spots, from the Royal Ontario Museum to the National Ballet. Not to mention its foodie scene, which has birthed a ton of exciting food markets and trendy craft breweries. For nature lovers and culture fanatics alike, there’s something for everyone in Toronto. Read on for all the best things on offer right now. 

🍽️ The best restaurants in Toronto
🥑 Where to eat the best brunch in Toronto
🍷 The best bars in Toronto
🖼️ The best attractions in Toronto
🏨 The best hotels in Toronto

Best things to do in Toronto

  • Museums
  • St Lawrence Market

What is it: A museum dedicated to all things ice hockey, which has been around since 1992.

Why go: Yep, you guessed it, Toronto’s top attraction is hockey themed. Who would’ve thought it? But even if you’re not a seasoned hockey fan, the Hockey Hall of Fame is well worth a visit. It has a seriously impressive collection of memorabilia, records, jerseys and more, and the building itself is pretty spectacular too. 

What is it: Toronto’s internationally famous film festival which takes place every September, for everything from blockbusters to foreign films, which is basically a film lovers’ heaven. 

Why go: Dedicated film fan or not, you’ll love the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which shows curated lists of the world’s best films from the year. There are your favourite celebrities and movies from every genre you can imagine. What's not to like? Plus, TIFF Theatre plays classics all year round.

  • Art
  • Chinatown

What is it: The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) features 95,000 works, making it one of the biggest art galleries in North America.

Why go: This gallery has everything from collections of Canadian indigenous artwork to the paintings by the iconic Group of Seven, who drew inspiration from the country’s rugged landscape. Good news for travellers on a budget: Wednesday nights (6pm to 9pm) are free. 

  • Attractions
  • Harbourfront

What is it: Once the world’s tallest tower, this iconic 553.33-meter (1,815.4 foot) structure is still super impressive. 

Why go: It’s impossible to visit Toronto without seeing the CN Tower, mainly because its spire dominates the landscape. Take in the view from the LookOut Level at 346 meters (1,136 feet), walk on air on the Glass Floor at 342 meters (1,122 feet) and check out the views from the highest perch of all: the SkyPod at 447 meters (1,465 feet) above the city. Satisfy rumbling stomachs by dining at the famous 360 restaurant or, if extreme thrills are your thing and the incredible height alone isn't enough to get your adrenaline pumping, then book one of the tower's Edgewalks, a full-circle, hands-free walk around the SkyPods outer ledge. Lean back, daredevils.

  • Museums
  • Bloor Yorkville

What is it: The massive collection of cultural and historical items at this museum is unparalleled.

Why go: Toronto is full of museums, but the ROM is the scene’s crown jewel. Visitors can peruse the permanent collection of 3,000 minerals and gems, extraordinary fossils, Roman antiquities and First Peoples art. The museum also hosts rotating exhibits on everything from the Japanese-Canadian experience through history to mummy portraits that happen to be some of the earliest-known fine arts portraits in the world.

What is it: From May through October, Trinity Bellwoods Park is one of the liveliest spots in the city, where dog owners and millennials flock to soak up the sun. 

Why go: Toronto is a cool city all year round, but it’s especially vibrant during the summer when Trinity Bellwoods Park turns into one of the best spots to people-watch and observe the city’s vibe. For the proper experience, come with a piping hot order of Bobbie Sue’s Mac + Cheese served from a takeout window around the corner.

Rogers Centre
Photograph: Shutterstock

7. Rogers Centre

What is it: The Blue Jays make up Toronto’s Major League Baseball team. The Rogers Centre downtown is where they play their home games and where you should definitely stop by while in town.

Why go: During the summer months, if the Jays are playing, Torontonians show their support by donning jerseys and blue hats. Catch the action by the waterfront where they play their home games, and be sure not to miss out on a hot dog and a beer while cheering on the only Canadian team in the league.

  • Music
  • Eaton Centre

What is it: In a city that prides itself on its thriving arts scene, the must-visit Roy Thomson Hall provides captivating performances that are a real treat for the ears.

Why go: Toronto is home to one of Canada’s most bustling music scenes. Whether you want to check out the next Drake at one of the many live music spots around town or take in an aria with the Canadian Opera Company, there’s always something to hear.

  • Shopping
  • St Lawrence Market

What is it: Once named the world’s best food market by National Geographic, St. Lawrence Market is the top spot for fresh produce, delicious eats and artisanal goods. 

Why go: This downtown market has been going strong since 1803, and today, it is home to over 120 vendors selling everything from fresh-from-the-farm veggies to mouth-watering meals to gourmet bread straight out of the oven. It isn't just about tummies, though. A farmers' market hijacks the North market on Saturdays, and on Sundays, antique dealers tout a tantalizing range of trinkets you never knew you needed. Grab your wallets, people.

Niagara Falls
Photograph: Shutterstock

10. Niagara Falls

What is it: Close to 750,000 gallons of water per second hurtle over the largest falls in North America. 

Why go: Take in the view from the top – the Table Rock site allows you to stand barely a meter from the edge of Horseshoe Falls – or get sweaty on one of the 300 kilometres of bike trails and self-guided cycling tours. You can also head into the falls with the Journey Behind the Falls, descending 38 meters through solid rock in a lift to stand next to the curtain of water. If that still doesn’t grab your attention, take flight on a helicopter and soar over the falls. For something more low-key, venture to the vineyards nearby. Niagara Falls is one of Canada’s top wine areas, and Niagara on the Lake is where you’ll find a good wine tour. Plus, it’s the most picturesque part of Niagara Falls – you heard it here first!

  • Bars and pubs
  • Beaconsfield

What is it: The craft beer scene could not be more popping in Toronto right now, and this West End brewery is the top choice amongst locals.

Why go: On a summer afternoon, the patio of Bellwoods Brewery is always bustling. Know that lining up to enjoy a crisp IPA at one of the picnic tables is a true Toronto experience that will put any visitor in a good mood. This award-winning brewery in the West End is quaint and welcoming. Whimsically named beers like Witchshark, Grandma, and Jelly King say everything you need to know about the vibe here.

What is it: For two weeks in spring, North America’s biggest documentary film festival will have you ditching your Netflix account.

Why go: With more than 200 films to choose from, there’s something for everyone on the big screen. From docs focusing on social justice issues to the backstories of some of the world’s most talented artists, this is a film festival that showcases some of the most captivating tales from around the globe. The best part? They’re all true stories, of course.

  • Theatre
  • Greater Toronto

What is it: This theatre celebrates the LGBTQ community and is the largest and longest-running queer theatre worldwide. 

Why go: If you want to catch a local production, head to Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, which, for more than 40 years, has put on alternative shows you won't find anywhere else. Located in the heart of Toronto’s Gay Village, the theatre is next to top bars and restaurants. You might also want to catch the yearly Toronto Fringe Festival, where many big names first got their start (The Drowsy Chaperone first tread the boards at Fringe before going on to win a Tony).

  • Shopping
  • Kensington Market

What is it: In a city full of diverse neighbourhoods, Kensington Market might be our favourite. 

Why go: This pocket of Toronto has a distinctly wonderful, eclectic, bohemian vibe. Seek charming cafés, the city’s best Mexican snack foods, decades-old vintage stores, record shops and tasty vegan lunch joints. If quirky hipster hangouts and underground speakeasies are your scenes, this slice of the city is for you. Kensington has long been an artists’ hub, a fact that is apparent from its counter-culture performance spaces and art galleries.

Toronto Islands
Photograph: Shutterstock

15. Toronto Islands

What is it: A visit to any of Toronto’s islands will have you feeling as though you escaped three hours north to cottage country.

Why go: The adventure starts on the ferry ride that takes passengers away from the bustling downtown core across the choppy waters of Lake Ontario. The Toronto Islands are all attached, and though Center Island is the most popular, Ward’s Island is far prettier with a scenic boardwalk, hobbit-like cottages, sailboats in view and a cute beachy café that serves flatbreads and burgers and often features live music acts.

  • Theatre
  • Downtown Toronto

What is it: Canada’s premiere ballet company performs the full range of classics and contemporary choreography.

Why go: You'll see lead dancers – including Guillaume Côté, Piotr Stanczyk, Skylar Campbell, Sonia Rodriguez and Greta Hodgkinson – who have truly mastered the art of graceful movement. The schedule is ever-changing, but key performances to look out for include Romeo and JulietThe NutcrackerThe Merry Widow and Swan Lake. All the classics. 

Haunted Walk
Photograph: Courtesy The Haunted Walk

17. Haunted Walk

What is it: Many of the stories recalled during this spooky walk may be fictional, but they are enough to make even the most hardened horror-lover shudder.

Why go: This macabre walking tour is also a great way to acquaint yourself with the city’s nooks and crannies. A cloaked tour guide carrying a lantern will lead you through Toronto's spookiest spots, including haunted theatres and the Mackenzie House, supposedly one of the city's most active paranormal sites. Not worried about nightmares? Grab a ticket for a night-time seance, where the Victorian supernatural awaits you.

Winterlicious and Summerlicious
Photograph: Courtesy City of Toronto

18. Winterlicious and Summerlicious

What is it: Toronto is a food city, and for two weeks in both summer and winter, 200 of the town's best restaurants put on a festival to showcase their best dishes.

Why go: Those who live in this Canadian city know how to chow down, and tourists ought to follow suit. For more than 15 years, restaurants that participate in the annual Winterlicious and Summerlicious food festivals have had their menus on point, serving diverse cuisine that has tourists and locals abandoning their diets entirely. 

Humber River
Photograph: Courtesy Flickr/cc/Michael

19. Humber River

What is it: The river that runs through Toronto’s West End with its mouth opening up at Lake Ontario is perfect for an afternoon of kayaking. 

Why go: Toronto is a big and bustling city, sure, but it’s also dubbed “a city within a park”, and anyone who opts to kayak down the Humber River will see why. Outdoorsy tourists who wish to enjoy nature can easily ogle at birds, turtles and wildflowers as they float towards the iconic Humber Bay Bridge. Since you’re still in the city, there will be no issues making it on time for happy hour in the Entertainment District post paddle.

  • Comedy
  • Dufferin Grove

What is it: Previously known as Theatresports Toronto, this full-time improvisational theatre was a breeding ground for talents like Mike Myers and Colin Mochrie. Almost four decades old, this accessible and affordable venue is as important as ever.

Why go: Canada has produced some notable funny folks, and many got their start at Toronto’s Second City or Bad Dog Theatre Company. Think you’re the next big thing? Sign up for one of the weekly drop-in improv classes.

  • Things to do
  • The Distillery District

What is it: Formerly the home of the largest distillery in the world, this is now a bustling pedestrian neighbourhood.

Why go: Where are some of the best pubs in Toronto hiding? The Distillery District. There are more than just local watering holes, too: the nabe is full of trendy shops, art galleries, top-notch restaurants and many, many patios. The developers maintained the industrial Victorian aesthetic complete with cobblestone walkways and old-timey buildings, making it a fun place to wander if a little more pre-packaged than other neighbourhoods. It also hosts several key local happenings like the annual Toronto Christmas Market.

  • Restaurants
  • Kensington

What is it: The unexpected combination of Hungarian and Thai food at this restaurant is emblematic of Toronto's food scene.

Why go: Almost half the population of Toronto was born outside Canada, so it is entirely possible to take your tummy on a trip around the world without ever leaving the city limits. Head to Chinatown, Little Korea, Little India, Little Italy and more to stuff your face. Because Torontonians are used to so many cultural pockets co-existing, locals have also developed an obsession with fusion foods. The cuisine at Hungary Thai is a perfect example: where else could you order both a wiener schnitzel and pad Thai?

Entertainment District
Photograph: Shutterstock

23. Entertainment District

What is it: The city's Entertainment District is one of the most concentrated party scenes in the world.

Why go: You'll mingle with upwards of 30,000 clubbers on any given Friday or Saturday night. Gastropub Bar Hop is a perennial favourite, thanks to its laid-back atmosphere and 36 craft beers on tap. If you're not into craft beer, well, you've no shortage of options. 

  • Theatre
  • Eaton Centre

What is it: This double-decker theatre complex puts on an impressive array of performances and is the last of its kind in the world. 

Why go: Toronto bills itself as “North Broadway”, and with many touring companies coming through town, the city has plenty to offer drama lovers. There are theatres aplenty, but the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres are special as they’re both the last operating double-decker theatres and a national historic site.


What is it: A Greek food and culture festival that takes over the city’s East End for a few days each summer.

Why go: Greek folks know how to cook, and for three days in August, tasting menus of their mouth-watering dishes are available in this lovely setting. Toronto is home to one of the largest Greek communities outside of Greece itself, and for the past 25 years, Taste of the Danforth has provided others with a glimpse into what this culture is all about. Meandering along Danforth Avenue (“The Danforth”), visitors observe the best of Greek music, dance and... did we say food?

What is it: Around 11 million axes are thrown at these arenas every year. This is serious business. 

Why go: Canada is not, contrary to the stereotype, a frozen tundra populated by igloos and lumberjacks. But, okay, yeah, we still enjoy our plaid and sometimes want to get in touch with our burly, rugged history. Learn to throw an axe with the Backyard Axe Throwing League, where you and your friends can enter a group tournament to see who has the chops to triumph.

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